MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): President, first of all I have to declare that I am a member of The Legislative Council Commission (the Commission). I very much agree to Mr Ronny TONG’s explanation of the insurance policy of the Legislative Council just now.
I wish to point out that the design of the Legislative Council Complex (the Complex) is based on the principle of openness. The building is open to all people in Hong Kong; they can come to observe the meetings or pay a visit. Such openness symbolizes the high transparency of our legislative work. Unfortunately, the political atmosphere has been changing rapidly in recent years, with more and more people using radical means to make known their demand. For example, many people in the public gallery would violently disrupt our meetings.
In June this year, some petitioners stormed the Complex, causing tremendous chaos. This highlighted the serious security loopholes of the Legislative Council. Although the Police eventually came to our aid, over 10 security staff of the Secretariat were injured, reflecting that our security system cannot keep up with the actual needs. Some security staff complained that when they first took up the work, they were only told that their duties were to patrol and guard the Complex, and they had never expected they would have to face violent confrontations. Besides, they also complained that the Secretariat waited too long to call in the Police.
As a matter of fact, as the administrative organ of the Legislative Council, the Commission is duty-bound to ensure the safety of about 800 employees and visitors in the Complex every day. This is a tremendous responsibility. Also, as the employer of 600 employees, the Commission is duty-bound under the law to ensure their safety. Should any employee be injured or even killed owing to the employer’s wrong decision or lack of protection, the family of the employee may initiate civil proceedings to claim compensation and the compensation can amount to tens of millions of dollars.
In today’s society, people tend to invert right and wrong. There are people who criticize the Commission for implementing too many security measures, turning the Complex into a fortress. I hope the people who make such criticisms would consider the following analogy: if your home has been robbed and after reporting the robbery to the Police, you install a burglar alarm and a metal gateset, but someone criticizes you for reporting to the Police and taking security measures, turning your home into a fortress, thereby denying visits from friends, I believe most sensible people would consider that such arguments are absolutely absurd, which invert right and wrong.
In the storming of the Complex, protesters outside were aided by people inside. The assistants of some Members either joined in storming the Complex or provided information to the protesters outside to facilitate their action. In fact, some Members on the one hand criticize the rigorous security measures in the Complex, but condone their assistants’ participation in the storming on the other hand. This is tantamount to asking people not to implement so many fire prevention measures, but setting fire everywhere and then in turn criticizing the management for mishandling. This is downright confounding right and wrong. As a matter of fact, the legislature in overseas countries, such as the parliaments of most European or North American countries, have put in place rigorous security measures and security screening systems, but no one has ever doubted their necessity. Why should it be a problem for the Legislative Council of Hong Kong to enhance its security measures?
In addition, the above confrontation has fully reflected the security loopholes and the fact that the Complex cannot withstand terrorist attacks. Hong Kong is an international metropolis and the Complex is a landmark in Hong Kong. Hence, there is a risk that this building may come under terrorist attacks. If a vehicle dashes into the Main Lobby of the Complex and detonates a bomb, serious casualties and damage will be resulted. Moreover, as the Complex is fitted with external glass curtain walls, if a super typhoon hits Hong Kong, there is the risk that the glass panels will be shattered. In designing the Complex, people might not have considered these problems seriously. I believe it is high time that we studied and resolved these problems. In the long run, as people in Hong Kong are becoming increasingly radical, the number of storming of the Complex is bound to increase and the existing security system of the Legislative Council will not be able to cope with the situation. It is therefore necessary to conduct a comprehensive review of the system.
Moreover, at present many tents have been set up in areas all around the Complex, including the Legislative Council Square. Many people have gathered in these areas day and night. Are all areas in the precincts of the Complex in compliance with the Fire Services Ordinance? As we can see, there are endless rows of tents surrounding the Complex, and if a fire breaks out, will we be censured for not taking appropriate measures to properly manage our facilities? We have also noticed that many mills barriers bearing the logo of the Legislative Council have been used by protesters as road barricades. I would like to know why no actions have been taken to recover these properties after so many days. Will this give people an impression that while we, Members are engaged in legislative work, we have taken no action to stop people from illegally using the properties of the Legislative Council as road barricades, thereby bringing disgrace on the Council. Therefore, I hope that the Legislative Council would consider how to recover those mills barriers as soon as possible, such as negotiating with the peaceful protesters or the Members’ assistants who are in charge of the resources of the Occupy Central movement ― I know many assistants to Members are managing various spots of the occupied areas ― and then take action expeditiously. Thank you, President.